Edith Schaeffer is quoted as saying, “A Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively.”
I’ve joked before how I have the soul of an artist but the skill of a preschooler, the desire to create and make something always felt within but rarely finding a satisfying outcome. Of course then I discovered photography and that gave some expression to the desire to create. But sometimes even that outlet hasn’t been enough and I’ve longed for something more, something intangible in a tangible world. The rest of Mrs. Schaeffer’s quote explains it a little better I think:
We are supposed to be representing the Creator who is there, and whom we acknowledge to be there. It is true that all people are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciation.
We have been created in the image of the Creator and because of this we should long to create. I know what some of you are thinking though. But I’m not crafty! I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler! I’m all thumbs when it comes to yarn and needles. The sewing machine tries to commit suicide if I come to close. I can’t even finger paint!
We’ve boxed in our definition of art and creativity. But even when we try to move outside the box we have problems. I don’t know how to decorate. I’m not that good of a cook. We have our reasons for thinking that we just aren’t that crafty or creative.
With simple words stars and planets were flung across the heavens. The very sound of His voice caused mountains to break free and rise out of the ground. Every shade of color, every hue and tone sprang from the imagination of the ultimate Artist. Within the ear of God a song was composed and given voice in the waves of the sea and the birds of the air. With His own hands He sculpted man out of the dirt and breathed life into his nostrils.
We will never be able to achieve the artistry that is God.
Michael Angelo, Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Beethoven,
Mozart, none of them at their greatest creative moment rival all that God has made. Unfortunately the limitations we put on our definition of creativity and art we also try to impose upon God. But He exist outside of our bounds and so we must look beyond our own understanding of artistry. It’s not just about the “thing” created but so much more. Consider this quote also from Edith Schaeffer:
“There are various art forms we may or may not have talent for, may or may not have time for, and we may or may not be able to express ourselves in, but we ought to consider this fact-that whether we choose to be an environment or not, we are. We produce an environment other people have to live in. We should be conscious of the fact that this environment which we produce by our very ‘being’ can affect the people who live with us or work with us.”
We create with more than clay and paint, or words or music notes, fabric or photographs. Everyday we create. And everyday we make choices to imitate what has already crafted by the Master.
We create homes that are a refuge the way He created an ark.
We create new culture when we resist the world’s culture, the world’s way of doing or being.
We create a world of reconciliation when we imitate the dark art of death that produces the kaleidoscope of color and light found in the resurrection.
We create peace when we turn the other cheek and offer the glorious poetry of forgiveness.
We create a symphony of mercy when we love and esteem others more than ourselves.
We create places of hospitality as we open our door and beckon in the poor and hungry.
We create a tapestry of grace when we weave longsuffering through our relationships with husband and wife, child and friend.
We all produce something. We all create. The question is whether it is worthy of presenting to our Creator.